January 16th, 2012
Censorship has been an issue that has been debated for many years. Censorship is the suppression of a book or other work of art which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. A “challenged” book is one that has had attempts to remove or restrict its material. A banned book is a book censored by a power holding authority, like the government or a school, and has been removed. These banned books are removed from the library of school. Book banning has gone way back, “as far as 450 B.C., when Anaxagoras wrote that he thought the sun was a “white hot stone and that the moon reflected the sun's rays.” His writings were deemed “derogatory” to the gods.” (Magelky 1) Books are banned because they are deemed unfit for any age group. Reasons for banning a book can be violence or sexual content. When a book gets banned, it doesn’t mean it’s illegal to be read, it’s just taken off the shelves of wherever it was banned from and it’s harder to find. There is a lot of debate over banned books, as well as if the children should have the “right to read”. Some people are against banning any book or any form of censorship because it interferes with our first amendment right of freedom of speech. Others think it is alright, in moderation. Some think the parents should be the one to decide if their kid can read the book. People that agree with book banning agree with the fact that book banning is done with “the best intentions, to protect people, usually children, from difficult ideas and information” (ALA 1). Banned books have been around for centuries and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Walter Milton Myers was born on Thursday, august 12th, 1937, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. His name was changed when he was given away to an African American man named Herbert Dean that resided in Harlem. Walter doesn’t know why he was given away, but Harlem was where Walter would spend most of his childhood and young adult life. Walter wrote well in school, mainly poetry and short stories, and a teacher noticed it. She told him to keep writing. But Walter didn’t do well in school, and eventually dropped out to join the army when he was 17 in 1954. Years later he started writing again, thinking about his teacher. He started writing about the hard times of his teen life in Harlem. Walter had many jobs in his life such as working at the post office, the New York Department of Labor, and a rehabilitation center. Throughout this time, he was writing for magazines and periodicals. Walter eventually won a contest run by the Council of interracial Books for Children with his book Where Does a Day Go? In 1969. From then on he has taken care of himself, his second wife and four children with his writings for children and young adults. Myers has won a variety of awards, including the Coretta Scott King award for fiction 5 times, and the ALA best book for young adults for Fallen Angels in 1988. Walter is happy with his life and accomplishments, and stated: I think my life is special. In a way it seems odd that I spend all of my time doing what I love, which is writing or thinking about writing. If everyone had, at least for a part of their lives, the opportunity to live the way I do, I think the world would be a better place. (1) Walter Dean Myers now lives in Jersey City, and volunteers at schools in the area. (Dean 1)
The book Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers is a book about a seventeen year old boy named Richard Perry, a black high school graduate from Harlem. Perry joins the military to get away from the harsh streets of Harlem. Richie travels to Vietnam to fight for the United States Army. He has a knee injury, which leads him to believe he will not...